Why Did I Not Think of That?

I am often amazed by ideas, points of view, new insights, writings and innovations that others come up with. I keep asking myself, “why did I not think of that”?

So I did a little thinking and came up with this preliminary list:

  • Do I see what most of the others miss?
  • If I do, do I observe it to learn more?
  • Do I reflect about my observations?
  • Do I form hypotheses based on my observations?
  • Do I look for evidence to prove or disprove my hypotheses?
  • Do I share it with others and get other points of view?
  • Do I write about my theories and see whether it evokes any interest?
  • Do I think about the future (not just mine) of everything I use everyday?

If I do, how often do I do it? What about you?

The Idea of Proportional Growth

This concept, The City-States of America, is similar to that of the primate city, a term coined by Mark Jefferson in 1939. A primate city refers to a city that is disproportionately larger than the other cities in that country or region. This idea is related to the Zipf distribution, a scale-free or power law distribution that often describes the ranks of the city sizes within a single country. In these distributions there many small cities dominated by a small number of extremely large cities, whose sizes are described by the exponent of the fit of the power law.

An explanation for how such an even distribution can occur is that of Gibrat’s Law, which posits the idea of proportionate growth — larger cities grow proportionally faster — can lead to this long tail of city sizes. A recent scientific paper that explores cities and Gibrat’s law is found here.

it is fascinating to note that the concept of proportional growth is a pattern. You can see it with companies, products and even ideas.